Children learn gender stereotypes soon enough. No need to rush the process.

PINKALICIOUS 123

A COUNTING BOOK

Pinkalicious spreads her message to the board-book set.

And it is relentless. “One wand, “two teacups,” and “three teddy bears” set a stereotypically girly stage. There is the occasional feeble attempt to counteract this, but inserting a few “boy toys” among all the Pinkalicious paraphernalia is jarring, not egalitarian. A brown basketball, green tennis ball, and white baseball with five otherwise pastel balls feel out of place. Six of the “ten toys” are typically associated with boys (though the airplane is pink), but then the book reverts to theme with a heart-shaped constellation of 11 stars, followed by passive pages of candy, butterflies, snowflakes, seashells, hearts, etc. (Yes, our heroine is shown climbing a precarious stack of furniture to reach pink cupcakes on top of a refrigerator, but that's not the kind of spunk most parents want their little darlings—whatever their genders—to emulate.) Pinkalicious ABC, published simultaneously, includes a scant handful of boys in three pictures. The only other male is a surly-looking man (dad?) hiding behind the Pinkville “newspaper” opposite a doting “M is for Mommy.”

Children learn gender stereotypes soon enough. No need to rush the process. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-243757-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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An amusing and lively read that celebrates a venerable literary form.

KNOCK KNOCK

A bear desperate to hibernate seeks refuge from neighbors.

A big brown bear is dressed in pajamas and ready to turn in for winter when suddenly: “KNOCK KNOCK.” “Who’s there?” asks the bear. “Justin the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by!” responds a fox bearing an arm full of firewood, and thus begins a series of knock-knock jokes that brings more and more woodland neighbors into the bear’s home. The bear grows increasingly frustrated as the illustrations grow ever more frantic, the compositions filled with animals bearing party supplies, food, and gifts. Eventually it is revealed that the bear’s neighbors are merely wishing their friend a safe and happy hibernation, and readers as well as the grouchy bear will find their hearts warming as a tiny chipmunk embraces its leg, proclaiming, “Al miss you all winter long.” Little readers will enjoy the narrative Sauer builds on these knock-knock jokes, and the repetition of the format will encourage them to create some of their own. The dynamic illustrations pop with color and noise, juxtaposing nicely with the bear in PJs who’s clearly desperate for some shut-eye. The end goal of sleep makes this a nice bedtime read-aloud, particularly for little readers who may be resisting the end of the day, even as the giant, red “KNOCK KNOCK”s encourage raucous storytime participation.

An amusing and lively read that celebrates a venerable literary form. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-11694-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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